The Chancellor announced yesterday that shared parental leave and pay will be extended to working grandparents, in order to increase flexibility for working parents and help them with the costs of childcare during the first year after their baby is born.

It is planned to implement the policy by 2018, with a consultation planned for the first half of next year.

The move shows recognition by the government of the crucial role that working grandparents play in supporting their families. It is estimated that nearly 2 million grandparents have given up work, reduced their hours or taken time off work to help families who are unable to afford childcare costs. And, in total some seven million grandparents are involved in childcare.

More than half of new mothers rely on grandparents for childcare when they first go back to work following maternity leave, and over 60 per cent of working grandparents who have grandchildren aged under 16 provide some amount of childcare.

The new system will also help grandparents achieve more flexibility without fear of losing their job. Among working grandparents who have never taken time off work to care for grandchildren under 16, evidence has shown that around 10% have either been refused time off by their employer, or felt unable to ask.

If you’d like information on shared parental leave and your rights as an employee, please contact Vaishali Thakerar, Ashley Hunt or Carrie-Ann Randall at Lawson-West on 0116 212 1000 or 01858 445 480.

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